A Quick Guide To Creating A Document Destruction Policy

It is important for businesses of all sizes to create an easy to manage document destruction program.

  • Shredding documents, files, receipts, papers, customer information and other confidential information should be done properly, legally, and on a regular basis.
  • Records retention periods are increasingly governed by regulations.
  • Many states have passed laws requiring businesses to shred papers and documents that are no longer in use.
  • This is especially important in the financial and healthcare industries where HIPAA and GLBA laws apply. If you work in these industries, be sure to carefully check all the relevant laws in your area.

But even in those few businesses and geographical areas where it may not be the law to shred papers, it is still a very common sense business practice, and one that is not so hard to incorporate into your company’s document management plan.

A Basic Guide To Help You Get Started Creating A Document Destruction Policy

To start, please be aware that this post is not intended to be a comprehensive document destruction policy guide, and is in no way legal advice or a substitute for researching applicable laws and procedures in your area.

shredguyIf you need more details, and have questions, be sure to request information from local shredding companies with our quotes form on the right, or just visit our directory of local contractors.

Many of them (but not necessarily all of them) will have information, experience and relevant information about document shredding services and specific laws or regulatory requirements for your location and industry.

However, it’s always nice to have a few ideas to help you organize your businesses paperwork, streamline the organization of your files, and increase profits.

1. Regular paper waste baskets are not enough for the office!

Get secure, lockable containers that work similar to a public drop off mailbox and don’t use regular dumpsters for disposing of office paper.

binsWith secure, convenient mobile document shredding services, a truck can come to your location, take the locked containers outside to the parking lot, and shred the media in front of a company representative.

Many of the newer document shredding trucks that are in use today have a built in camera so that a designated employee can see the papers being shredded.

Afterwards, the employee can receive a signed and dated certificate of destruction.

The certificate should acknowledge fiduciary responsibility for the shredded paper and/or other media such as hard drives or CDs.

2. Use a consistent, planned & detailed document management procedure for the entire organization

Many businesses and organizations may have dozens or even hundreds of different departments, each with their own method of disposing of paperwork and each on a different schedule.

A more effective plan is to have a records management and retention policy for the entire organization to ensure a consistent procedure to use company-wide.

3. Records should be destroyed properly, consistently, and frequently

Consistency is key. Papers accumulated daily in the locked paper consoles in a department should be shredded on a weekly or monthly basis.

shredding-paperOther types of records, such as photocopies that are not useful after 3 months could be shredded quarterly or yearly, depending on the quantity.

Original records might be shredded annually, every few years, or archived with a document scanning or document storage service.

With a scanning or storage service, hundreds of thousands of paper records can be condensed into one DVD disc or stored offsite, creating more office space and adding tremendously to overall office organization and efficiency.

4. All document management policies should be documented and posted

Any policies that you create for document management purposes should be detailed and cover all types of records and all procedures for disposal.

You may be able to design and post posters or signs from a document shredding company or simply print up copies of the policies in a large font and post them around the department near places where paperwork is generated or discarded.

You might also just create a simple chart with the file type in one column and the timeline/shredding policy in the next column.

5. Train all employees on the new implementation of an organization’s document management procedures.

Not every employee needs to be a ‘records management specialist’. However, at the very least, a simple, educational meeting and discussion of document management policies should be a standard part of training employees.

6. When it’s time to schedule a shredding service, find a reputable local contractors to ensure every step of the process is secure

Not all document destruction companies are equal and the least expensive paper shredding solution is not always the best choice. To find out more factors to consider read the article here.

New document shredding businesses are starting every month, and not all of them have the same standards of security.  Let us help you find a reputable contractor in your area.  Just fill out the quote to the right, give us a call at (800) 503-0576, or check out our national directory of shredding contractors

7. Make sure to document every document destruction event

It’s critical to store a record of all files that were destroyed in case of any liability issue as proof that the organization took reasonable steps to destroy files. Think of mountains of old outdated paperwork being condensed into a few pieces of paper while the rest is safely shredded and recycled.

These company records combined with the certificate of destruction might be all that is left over from 100’s of boxes of paper, and can be stored in one file drawer.  If you do this, you’ve really accomplished a lot for the organization of your business.

Create The Most Organized System Paperwork System Possible

Ideally, you want to aim to create the most organized business possible, with the highest level of security and consideration for your customer’s data and least amount of paperwork possible.

Designating a records manager and creating a comprehensive document destruction and records management policy can help you to achieve these goals.

Don’t dwell on the details- let our experts help!

Let our professionals help you find the right document management solution for your business.  To get free quotes from a local provider give us a call at (800) 503-0576.  Within minutes, you will be contacted with several secure records management companies in your area.